The Athenians, after plans had been arranged
between themselves and their correspondents both as to words and actions,
sailed by night to Minoa, the island off Megara, with six hundred heavy
infantry under the command of Hippocrates, and took post in a quarry not far
off, out of which bricks used to be taken for the walls;
while Demosthenes, the other commander, with a detachment of Plataean light
troops and another of Peripoli, placed himself in ambush in the precinct of
Enyalius, which was still nearer.No one knew of it, except those whose business it was to know that night.
A little before daybreak, the traitors in Megara began to act.Every night for a long time back, under pretence of marauding, in order to
have a means of opening the gates, they had been used, with the consent of
the officer in command, to carry by night a sculling boat upon a cart along
the ditch to the sea, and so to sail out, bringing it back again before day
upon the cart, and taking it within the wall through the gates, in order, as
they pretended, to baffle the Athenian blockade at Minoa, there being no
boat to be seen in the harbour.
On the present occasion the cart was already at the gates, which had been
opened in the usual way for the boat, when the Athenians, with whom this had
been concerted, saw it, and ran at the top of their speed from the ambush in
order to reach the gates before they were shut again, and while the cart was
still there to prevent their being closed; their Megarian accomplices at the same moment killing the guard at the
The first to run in was Demosthenes with his Plataeans and Peripoli, just
where the trophy now stands; and he was no sooner within the gates than the Plataeans engaged and
defeated the nearest party of Peloponnesians who had taken the alarm and
come to the rescue, and secured the gates for the approaching Athenian heavy
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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